The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden is a place to find comfort and rest – Sentinel and Enterprise

HARVARD – The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden Cancer Support Center, better known simply as “The Healing Garden,” is a magnificent facility set in eight acres of quiet woodland and beautiful gardens in the heart of Harvard, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for all those affected by cancer.

“The Healing Garden is for men, women and their caregivers, regardless of cancer type, prognosis or financial ability to pay for the services,” said Meg Koch, Executive Director. “Patterns are our secret sauce, when you drive through our woods and pristine gardens you don’t remember the hospital. “

Located at 145 Bolton Road, visitors will find the center comfortable and warm, with colorful paintings by expressive arts therapist Candace Anderson.

A fireplace and radiant-heated floors provide warmth on cold days, as well as comfy chairs with plush pillows and hand-knitted shawls.

A workshop room is used for exercise and movement activities, such as yoga and Qigong, for expressive arts therapy workshops, as well as for lectures and meetings; as well as two quiet treatment rooms, used for body / energy work such as massage, acupuncture and Shiatsu.

“We are proud to be able to offer our clients with cancer and their caregivers group programs and classes, support groups, individual counseling, mindfulness movements, yoga, cancer oncology exercises. , cooking classes and more, ”said Koch. “Due to COVID-19, we are providing these support services virtually on Zoom, but look forward to the time when we can return to the facility.”

In addition, the grounds and gardens of the Healing Garden continue to be open to clients, family and friends and the community, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The center offers services that respond to the physical, social, emotional and spiritual distress of cancer patients. A skilled team of specialists and professional staff including certified and licensed social workers in oncology help facilitate these programs and services, which are complementary to medical care for the disease.

“Our care complements the patient’s medical care, and we believe it helps improve their quality of life,” Koch said. “We are talking about the loss of things in their life, such as the loss of their ability to work, changes in body image and loss of function due to cancer treatments and surgeries. We deal with fear and anxiety. There is a need to help cancer patients learn to relax and develop resilience tools.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been in a sustained crisis,” Koch said. “As humans, we are built to react to flight or fear and can endure anything urgent, then we rest and recover. However, having this seizure for such a prolonged period, people have to engage in activities to restore calm and gain a sense of comfort and rest. “

She said the center has now seen an increase in the number of people going online to use their programs.

“You don’t have to worry about finding transportation to the center, or even getting out of your pajamas to be on the computer,” she said. “There is no longer a barrier to listening to what the Healing Center has to offer. It is heartwarming to see these customers who have high fears due to COVID-19 helping each other cope. “

Koch adds that in these difficult times, the centre’s staff have also become more creative.

“We’ve implemented a contactless pickup of art kits to use at home, as well as Zoom classes, online exercise classes in conjunction with the YMCA’s Livestrong program, and even instructions for the YMCA. acupressure provided by Zoom, ”she said. .

Koch added, “A lot of our support groups and courses are designed and aimed at helping people build resilience and look at it from a new perspective. Cancer patients are stopped dead in their tracks, and they have to find the bright side and know what’s important to them and what’s important to them, and we’re thrilled to be there to help them along their journey.

Upcoming Healing Garden Events

A Garden Concert, featuring award-winning folk musician Tom Smith, will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 26, outside in the Healing Garden. Masking and social distancing are encouraged. This concert will take place virtually in inclement weather.

Registration is required for both virtual and in-person outdoor concerts, which are offered free of charge and are open to the public. A charitable donation of $ 10 is suggested.

In addition, the community is invited to the perennial walk and journey to prosper on Saturday October 2 and Sunday October 3. Participants can ride on Saturday, choosing a 66-mile, 33-mile, or 12-mile ride through rural Nashoba Valley, followed by a chili and cornbread after-party. The walk, to be held on Sunday, will include a 5 km or 1 mile walk, followed by a family celebration. To register for either event, visit

For more information on The Healing Garden and upcoming events, visit or call 978-456-3532.

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